There are two titans of technology writing: Walt Mossberg and David Pogue. These men can make or break a product and today they both share their thoughts on Microsoft's would be iPod, the Zune. Now, it should be noted that both Pogue and Mossberg are known Apple fans, and more specifically they have given the iPod (in its many forms) positive reviews (though pretty much the entire tech press has as well).
Pogue and Mossberg both agree that the screen on the Zune is great, and that the UI is comparable, or better than, the iPod in most cases. It also sounds just as good as the iPod, but that is where the praise ends. Pogue wonders why you can't use Windows Media Player to sync with your Zune (you must use a new software program called, oddly enough, Zune). Mossberg was disappointed in the battery life, and he thought the entire product felt more like a prototype than a final effort.
They both pan the wireless sharing, which is supposed to be one of the Zune's major selling points. You can share, via WiFi, songs from your Zune to another person's Zune. They can only play them 3 times in the next 3 days before they go poof (leaving behind a note of what the track was in case you want to buy it at the Zune Store). Though here's the rub, even if you only listen to 10 seconds of the song that counts as one 'play.'
Overall it seems like the Zune is a typical Microsoft effort, acceptable with some odd omissions and oversights. I'd expect the Zune to give the iPod a run for its money when it is on its third version (but we may very well have a direct neural interface with our iPods by then).